True talent. It’s a problem that the real WWE is struggling with (Really? Wade Barrett? Really?), and even wrestlers notice it; superstar CM Punk told me just the other day that the league is really suffering from “a dearth of talent.”

But Yukes takes a page from THQ’s other wrestling release, the spring’s WWE All-Stars, to keep that from happening here, grabbing talent from days gone by to pump life into this game. From the Rock to Brock Lesnar to Stone Cold Steve Austin to the Road Warriors themselves, Hawk and Animal, WWE ’12 is overflowing with recognizable, legendary names.

The resulting cast of characters is thick with talent and rife with intrigue. Could Alberto Del Rio hang with the late Eddie Guerrero? Could the Legion of Doom smack Edge and Christian? CM Punk vs. Stone Cold? It’s not hard to find out – once you unlock Lesnar and the rest of the full lineup, that is – and it also compensates for the thin main cast. Raise your hand if you get excited to fly around as Yoshi Tatsu.

Now, raise your hand if you can’t wait to take control of Ricky Steamboat. Yeah, that’s what we thought.

The lone downside to the cast of wrestlers is that THQ decides not to automatically include all of them in the game. The Rock is only available to those who preordered, a stunning disappointment for anyone who walks into the store to grab the game tomorrow. And the first round of DLC characters – Shawn Michaels, Michael Cole and Jim Ross among them – will cost you dough, even though they were available on release day.

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